Anglican Watch

Reader comment on Bishop Marray Title IV case, customer service, and reputational damage to TEC

Corruption in the Episcopal Church

Ed. We wholeheartedly endorse this excellent comment by one of our readers and are posting it in order to provide heightened awareness.

It is often easy to criticize and what transpires in the Diocese of Easton shows that there is often good reason to do so. However, I would like to offer here some constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement in the Title IV process that could be pursued after the stalled Title IV complaints against Mr. Marray have been honestly and authentically addressed. I therefore respectfully and hopefully offer this addendum to my response of June 19.

Addendum to Standing Committee Response

While it is of the utmost urgency for The Episcopal Church to stop stonewalling the Title IV process concerning Mr. Marray and complainants, the underlying problems show that there are two white elephants in the room that a many, and particularly those in power, seem content to ignore and pretend are not there.

Much has already been said about Mr. Marray. However, at the crux of this stalled investigation, and failure to provide pastoral care to people who have been abused, is a Title IV process within The Episcopal Church (TEC) that does not work. It appears that that TEC needs to put its money where its mouth is (as there is a Title IV link on the TEC website) and that a consulting firm should be brought in to help us engage stakeholders in the process of establishing an legitimate agency, a set of protocols, and ways of handling Title IV complaints that implicitly and explicitly value the humanity of complainants and will treat them as Christ implores us to treat everyone.

TEC could profit considerably by engaging with, and developing evidence-based practices that have been put forth in the discipline of Customer Relations Management because the Title IV process is a service that TEC pretends to offer. When an organization offers a service, there are dimensions of service that must be established and maintained if the organization desires to create and maintain reputability. These dimensions of service include: a) reliability – ability to perform the service reliably and accurately; b) assurance – the ability of contact persons representing TEC and the Title IV process to respond knowledgably, with courtesy and to convey and foster confidence in the Title IV process with complainants; c) tangibles – the accessibility, transparency, and accuracy of all communication materials that lead complainants to, and through the Title IV process, and the provision of safe neutral spaces in which in-person protocols can be deployed; d) empathy (with a capital E) – provision of caring, individualized care to complainants; and, e) responsiveness – willingness to help complainants and provide prompt service.1 Transparent external review of the Title IV process and its EC representatives should also be a routine part of maintaining the Title IV program as well.

What we currently have (or do not have) in the way of Title IV customer service has destroyed the reputability of the Title IV process and its EC agents. It is also destroying the credibility of TEC as an organization that values social justice, diversity and Christ’s message. Let us all roll up our sleeves at get to work, by first promptly addressing and remediating the issues, which complainants in the Marray Title IV cases have raised. Once we have done everything possible to stop the abuse, pain and suffering there, we can then turn attention toward creating a better Title IV system and processes to restore credibility and authenticity.

The issue of authenticity is critical because we live in an age of instant communication and our younger generations (and some us in older cohorts as well) seek authenticity, values alignment and desire to feel valued when we engage with organizations and products. Right now, the TEC, with regard to Title IV, is only talking to and for those in power. From a marketing perspective, what is currently taking place is anathema to customer-centered practice.

I am sure that those entrenched in power structures and protocols that currently favor their interests will be quick to point out that TEC is not a business. While I can agree that The Church is not a business, I would also point out that it also should not be a dictatorship or an oligarchy and that it must be responsive to its membership, prospective members, and the times we live in order to survive. TEC finds itself grappling with issues that many other organizations confront and there is no need to reinvent the wheel. There is a lot of evidence-based practice that could profitably redirect our efforts toward results that would strengthen rather than divide and disperse the Body of Christ.

Foot Note
1. These dimensions of service come from a model of customer service developed by A. Parusuraman, and is cited in Customer Relations Management: Concepts and Technologies, 4th Edition by Buttle and


  1. IMO, this is a pervasive failure throughout the Episcopal Church.

    There is a pending Title IV complaint against Bishop Lucinda Ashby, of the Diocese of El Camino Real, which was lodged on May 27, 2024. Over one month later, The Episcopal Church has not provided pastoral care to the complainant, even after multiple written requests for pastoral care.

    “The canonical requirement for Pastoral Response is one of the important differences between past disciplinary processes and Title IV. Title IV.8 details a structured response and the goals to promote “healing, repentance, forgiveness, restitution, justice, amendment of life and reconciliation among all involved or affected.”

    1. Spot on.

      What’s even more offensive is that neither Todd Ousley nor Clay Mathews made any effort to compile the resources needed to provide the required response. And in many cases, they don’t even tell complainants the outcome of the case, which prevents timely appeal.

      The shenanigans continue. For example, in the George Sumner complaint, Todd Ousley acknowledged last year, before leaving the role of intake officer, that he had received the complaint. Yet there’s no response from Barb Kempf, so we stepped in and refiled.

      It should not be this difficult to obtain ethical behavior in the denomination.

      We also remain deeply frustrated that the canons are optional for bishops. Yes, the ironically named Bishop Love bit the dust for ignoring the will of GC, but as you pointed out, Title IV is routinely ignored by the Office of Presiding Bishop.

      And we are still wondering how TEC can think it is so good on abuse, when it won’t even fund the Title IV database.

      Indeed, our Roman sisters and brothers are doing much better on abuse than are we.

  2. After an additional request that pastoral care be provided, the response from TEC today was that the Bishop-Desginate and Intake Officer are attending General Convention and will follow up as soon as possible. The complaint was lodged on May 27, 2024 and General Convention started on June 23, 2024.

    Pastoral care should be high on the list of to-do’s in the 27 days prior to attending General Convention.

  3. Nothing I can say will add further light to the fact that the Episcopal Church’s Title IV process is a farce and a joke. The powers to be cover things up to protect their own self, corrupt and unchristian interests. I say emphatically, they do not care about being transparent, honest, or thorough. They will do whatever it take to hide their misdeeds. However, if the powers to be do not like you, agree with you, or want to silence you, well then, the Title IV process works perfectly to their benefit.

    In the meantime corrupt bishops and priests get away with grave clerical abuse and civil crimes. I hope that the new Presiding Bishop will take reforming Title IV process seriously. There are many victims who are sorely wounded and refuse to ever consider stepping foot in a Christian church. The saddest part is that their are Christians who don’t want them in their church and will rid themselves of anyone who supports such victims.

    It is time for action, TEC and Bishop Rowe! My suggestion to Bishop Rowe, start looking at the names of players listed in Title IV proceedings who had charges summarily dismissed, ignored, or immorally pled to a lesser offense. Do this by forming an independent investigative group – whose members are not part of TEC – who could be transparent, honest, and objective. This is a good time to show some integrity and to stop the lying. Otherwise, just turn off the lights and close up.

    1. Yup.

      We are at the point that, if TEC doesn’t get its ethical house in order, it’s time to call it quits. Sell off the remaining assets, donate the money to the poor, and admit that the Episcopal Church is an idea that has run its course.

      And standing committees, bishops, and priests alike need to understand — you need the laity more than the laity needs you. Just look at the accelerating rates of membership decline. So don’t take us for granted.

  4. The Episcopal Church, and each diocese in the Episcopal Church, needs to retain an outside service to investigate and oversee complaints. The current Title IV system has clergy and laity investigating their own friends – there is a lack of professional distance as a result.

    There are organizations like who are engaged in this work.

    1. That’s been our experience as well. Filing a Title IV complaint is like asking a bank robber to keep an eye on the safe after the bank closes. Maybe they will help you out, but chances are the outcome will not be good.

  5. And ‘forgiveness” is promoted as the first response in TEC, instead of protecting the victims.

    First, we pray for the victims, and then we stop them from being harmed again.

    1. Or perhaps care for victims first, then pray for them.

      That said, your point is spot on: There’s a thawed theology of forgiveness in TEC that involves cheap grace. As in just say, “I’m sorry,” and the bad actor is allowed to pick up where they left off with the misconduct.

  6. We have said much about perpetrators and the plight of victims in cases of bullying. Father Richard Kew writes a very personal account of his experiences of bullying on The Living Church’s website: and I was pleasantly surprised that this source published the following reply, yesterday, which talks about the complicity of bystanders in cases of bullying, and how it is undermining The Church. I offer that discussion about bystanders and undoing of the church here too, below.

    John B Jacob June 27, 2024 At 9:03 pm
    I really appreciated Father Kew’s courageously personal perspective on Bullying in the Episcopal Church by bishops, priests and laity. We live in a fiercely competitive culture where people are desperate to be right, push people around and hold power. One-upmanship seems to be a national pastime. And, as Father Kew noted, people sometimes also feel the need to share their miserable day with others through abusive behavior. While these inclinations do not mesh well with Christ’s message, and it is easy to notice a bully’s wrongdoing, it is also important to note that bullying involves not only perpetrators and victims, but also bystanders. Bystanders often turn a blind eye toward wrongdoing to protect their interests, whether these are comfort, power, convenience, or fear that they may become a bully’s target. However, the bystanders’ silence and complacency are complicity. When one fails to speak against wrongdoing, the bully gains implicit support, tangible empowerment and gathers accomplices.

    Bystander silence is an equally disturbing characteristic of contemporary politics and society, which we see far too often also in The Episcopal Church (TEC). TEC explicitly pretends to address such bullying and other abuses, within its ranks, through canonical Title III and Title IV protocols. The Title IV protocols as well call for the provision of pastoral care to complainants. Yet one need not look far to notice that the Title III and Title IV policies are failing in practice. These failures cause me to question, not my faith, but the legitimacy and authenticity of TEC as an organization committed to stand as the Body of Christ. This is very sad because TEC offers a beautiful liturgical tradition and profoundly touching sacraments. The disconnect between what TEC pretends to be and its failure to acknowledge its profusion of bullies and silent bystanders is a corruption that is threatening its existence. It is no surprise, under these circumstances, that church attendance and membership are in severe decline. People are not so easily fooled by glib concessions to social justice. Institutions that fail to honestly and compassionately address internal wrongdoing come across as smug. Such a vibration is neither inviting, nor inspiring. The Episcopal Church would do well to roll up its sleeves and admit that it has three problems to correct: 1) bullies; 2) silent bystanders, and 3) failed policies. Once these problems are admitted, then people can do what is necessary to repair TEC, console and support victims, and create mechanisms to prevent and effectively censure bullies. Otherwise, silence and denial will continue accelerating demise.

    1. Here is the follow-on comment from AW editor Eric Bonetti, which was submitted to The Living Church:

      Full disclosure: I’m the editor of Anglican Watch, a publication that addresses abuse and bullying in the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion.

      I wholeheartedly agree with the comments here. The Episcopal Church, as currently postured, is one of the least psychologically safe places one can be.

      As the author above notes, bullying and narcissistic abuse run rampant in the denomination.

      The causes are multi-faceted, but at the end of the day, much of the responsibility rests with the denomination itself. Specifically, the Title IV clergy disciplinary process sounds good on paper. But the reality is that, unless it involves sex, money, or children, the church treats misconduct as “not of weighty and material importance to the ministry of the church.”

      Even worse, the church does not take its own clergy disciplinary canons seriously. Bishops and other judicatories routinely ignore canonical requirements; some bishops, including Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Todd Ousley, Chilton Knudsen, Shannon Johnston, Susan Goff, Alan Gates, and others, decide they don’t want to get involved, even when allegations of criminal conduct by clergy arise. This paradigm is the very definition of corruption, and it meets the definition that federal agencies use for a “corrupt organization.”

      Meanwhile, we hear Sean Rowe talk about how we need to get our act together. While I agree with the notion, it’s actually not that complex. We merely need to do what we say we are going to do.

      What does that mean in real life?

      For starters, it means that we need to adhere to the notion, stated in Title IV, that clergy are held to a higher standard. That means if the conduct in question would get me fired from a non-church job, it should engender the same result for clergy.

      Similarly, judicatories need to enforce all of Title IV. For example, diocesan officials must hold clergy accountable for criminal activity, even if it does not result in criminal charges.

      For example, I personally have an active Title IV complaint against a priest, who remains active and has repeatedly offered perjurious testimony in civil court against me. Moreover, it is indisputable that he has committed perjury, as his sworn statements are facially inconsistent. Yet that priest continues to officiate in a parish in Massachusetts, and Bishop Alan Gates has brushed off my complaints, as has Bishop Shannon Johnston. And Chilton Knudsen, who until recently headed up the Disciplinary Board for Bishops, even held in writing that my allegations were not “of weighty and material importance to the ministry of the church.”

      It is a pathetic situation indeed in which the Episcopal Church can say that criminal perjury, a felony under state law, is not relevant.

      And, of course, the same bishops lament the exodus from the denomination, narcissistically unaware that it is their corruption that empowers bullying, and leads many of us to leave.

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